Have you ever ‘almost’ missed a flight? Well! We did! It might seem an amusing memoir now in hindsight but the live experience was far from laughable. You go through this intense dejection when the realization dawns upon you that you’ll not make it, to a stark opposite feel of a rise in hope that possibly you will. What makes this feeling ‘funny’ is the see-saw of the above two extremes, to be or not to be – that was the question!
Being self-proclaimed travel lovers, we (my husband and I) had planned and booked our honeymoon on our own, i.e. without availing the services of a travel agent. The destination was going to be Krabi, a little piece of heaven located on the west coast of southern Thailand and the way to get there was via Bangkok. We had researched extensively on on-arrival visa and the necessary documents required. We had also meticulously booked the connecting flight to Krabi from Bangkok keeping a leisurely two hours of transit time at Bangkok. But what we had NOT anticipated was the insanely long queue to get our tourist visa stamped at the colossal Suvarnabhumi International Airport.
There must have been at least a hundred people ahead of us in the serpentine queue and supposing every person spent at least a minute at the immigration window, we realized very quickly that we were cutting dangerously close to catching the connecting flight. We had a little over an hour in hand to wade through this queue followed by proceeding to the domestic part of the terminal which was at the other end of the airport and clear the domestic security check before going ahead with boarding.
Time has this annoying habit of racing by when you want it to run slow. Fidgety and anxious, almost of an hour passed by. Eventually the immigration counter drew closer and we learnt that we needed to submit our passport, collect a token and wait in the farther waiting area for the token number to be called out. What followed was another fifteen minutes of restlessness and jitters. In the meantime, the flight information displays around informed us that our flight to Krabi had started boarding.
The moment our token was called out, we rushed to the counter, collected our stamped passports and what followed was a frantic dash towards the domestic terminal. It was literally a race against time! Quite contrary to the need of the hour, I had decided to adorn the best of my heels for the occasion and as we literally dashed past passengers, running on the travelators, skidding at the turns, I realized that it wouldn’t be a bad idea after all to take off the heels and run bare foot. After what seemed like eternity, we made it to the domestic security check. This time there was no time to patiently wait in the queue. I explained our ‘situation’ to the passengers ahead of us and the kind people let us pass.
The fact that Bangkok airport is huge is an understatement. Next, we had to reach the boarding gate which again seemed miles away. What followed was another mad dash. Eventually the boarding gate came into sight, though at some formidable distance. Our hearts sank seeing that it was empty. It could only mean one thing. Boarding had completed and we had missed the flight and were stranded in Bangkok.
But hey wait! There was a lady from the Thai Airlines still standing at the gate and as we fluttered our boarding passes in the air from a distance, she beckoned with her hands to hurry. It was a miracle! We had made it.
Only when we had passed through the gate onto the aero-bridge, entered the packed aircraft and made out way to our seats, did we heave the biggest sigh of relief! We looked at each other and burst out laughing! Phew… What an experience!